The title of this post is sure to piss some people off or make them think I’m arrogant, and possibly even both. But before you prematurely jump to any conclusions, keep reading, because I’m going to tell you how you, too, can always be right.
In the past, people have often remarked that I always think I’m right or that I always want to be right during discussions (probably because I don’t easily give up). And it’s true that most of the time I stand very firmly and confidently behind my views on a particular subject. This is often misunderstood by people as me “just wanting to be right” or even me being “arrogant.” But the fact of the matter is that I don’t even care about being right as much as I care about staying close to the truth.
Unlike most people today, I like to find out when I’m wrong. And, unlike most people today, I always keep myself open to alternative possibilities and will always try to honestly and objectively look at any other information and viewpoints that are presented to me — no matter who it comes from (we can learn from everyone). This can take a lot of time but that doesn’t matter to me. In fact, quite often it’s the case that I have already spent a considerable amount of time looking at most of the alternative possibilities and information. So if I keep defending my views on a particular subject during discussions, then that simply means that, after evaluating the alternative possibilities, I still believe my views to be closer to the truth. 1
If I don’t know anything at all about a subject, I just don’t get involved in a discussion about it. If I’m asked to give my opinion on something I know little about, I’ll either decline to comment, or I might give my opinion on it but make it clear that I’m not very sure about it. I’m not afraid to simply say “I don’t know.”
But when you notice that I’m confident enough to share my views on a particular subject in public, and firmly back my point of view, you can safely assume that I have done a lot of thinking on that subject. Quite often that involves years of personal research and rigorously scrutinizing my own opinions and assumptions on the subject. I am my worst critic; I’m very rigorous and hard on myself. I hate fooling and lying to myself. So there’s a lot of self-scrutiny involved before I arrive at an internal and personal opinion on any subject. During that process I’ve already spent a lot of time evaluating as many of the possibilities as I could find, and looking at a lot of information, over the period of weeks, months, and for subjects that are very important to me, even many years. And because I’ve challenged myself and my assumptions so rigorously during that time, I’ve proven myself wrong many times — but usually I’m the only one that knows about it. By the time I go public with my views, I know that they have got to be right, or at least very close to the truth. 2 And this is what ultimately gives me the confidence to stand firmly behind my point of view — something people often confuse with arrogance.
So the truth is that I’m wrong a lot of the time, but mostly in arguments with myself. After so much self-scrutiny any opinion that survives in the end and that I go public with, is going to be very difficult to disprove. And this is the secret to always being right in public: It’s easy to always be right in public if you only give your opinions on matters that you know a lot about, or have a lot of experience with, and have thoroughly researched. If you don’t know anything about a certain subject, or very little, either refrain from commenting or say that you don’t know much about it. Go do your research on the subject first (and try to be thorough), then speak about it. All too often people will be quick to give their opinions on various matters without actually being well-informed.
And those are the same people who will get irritated or angry with me when I stay firm and confidently defend my views. Sometimes I get to hear that I’m not being very tolerant of other people’s views. But being tolerant doesn’t mean having to accept erroneous views. People can have different views, but I have the right to point out when they’re wrong. And not only do I have that right, but I should tell them they’re wrong especially if I know that their thinking can affect them negatively. You see, unlike the hypocrites who will politely smile at you when you have a different opinion and will pretend that they agree, or will “agree to disagree,” so they can continue to kiss your ass, I’m going to honestly say exactly what I believe. And if I believe you’re wrong, I’m going to say so, even if the truth isn’t very comfortable to hear. For me, being tolerant goes only so far as allowing people to have their own views (insofar their views don’t have a negative impact on my right to life) and not forcing them to accept mine. But I see it as my moral responsibility to tell them if I think they’re wrong, and explain it to them, so that they are aware of it and can hopefully benefit from arriving at different insights in the future. Leaving people in their erroneous thinking can be bad not only for them but for everyone else around them. 3
Firmness in the pursuit of truth and sharp self-criticism in the execution of this task. Restriction of the disease called “socialitis,” i.e., sacrifice of basic principles to social affiliations.
I can be especially firm in defending my views when people display willful ignorance, 4 and simply refuse to look at any alternative information I provide that is contrary to their beliefs. In that case they’re keeping themselves uninformed and unaware of the complete picture and their views on the subject lose a lot of credibility.
When it comes to my views on various matters in life, the real question I ask myself is not whether I or anyone else is right or wrong, but I ask myself what is true? 5 Being right is really not as important to me as people sometimes think; I’m more interested in finding out the truth. And I hope that more and more people will concern themselves with the truth in the future.
Willful ignorance is the state and practice of ignoring any sensory input that appears to contradict one’s inner model of reality. At heart, it is almost certainly driven by confirmation bias.
It differs from the standard definition of “ignorance” — which just means that one is unaware of something — in that willfully ignorant people are fully aware of facts, resources and sources, but refuse to acknowledge them. Indeed, calling someone “ignorant” shouldn’t really be a pejorative, but intentional and willful ignorance is an entirely different matter.
As you go down the path of life, ask: ‘What’s true?’, not: ‘Who else believes it?’
When I was a teenager and got interested in learning how to write computer programs, I didn’t have access to a lot of information on the subject. There was a local library in the district of Nickerie where I lived, but the books on computers and Information Technology were very old. Much of the information in those books was still useful, but I couldn’t find any books on the more modern programming languages that I wanted to learn. On top of that, the people who did have those books often liked to keep them for themselves and didn’t like to share any of their knowledge.
Fortunately I had a group of close friends that did like to share knowledge but resources were still very limited. Mostly I had to rely on the very limited information provided by online help systems that came with the compilers, in those cases where I actually had a complete copy of the software (yes, even that was a problem quite often).
In the beginning it was difficult for me to understand why people liked to keep their knowledge to themselves and were very secretive. I was very eager to learn, and thought that everyone would recognize how that was a very positive thing, and that they would gladly share any information they had that would help me to learn. But what I found on the contrary, is that they limited access to certain information and didn’t like to share. For example, sometimes there would be instances where I’d see someone do something really cool on the computer, and I’d ask how he did that, and would get the typical answer of “oh, I can’t tell you that” followed by a smile.
Those kinds of experiences are an important reason for why I like to share knowledge. I know what it’s like to want to learn something but not being able to have access to any information. I also know how limiting a lack of access to information can be, and how difficult such circumstances are. I also know how the sharing of knowledge can help other people to grow, and will ultimately benefit all of us. That’s why I love the Internet, and think it’s the best thing that ever happened to humankind. Children who are growing up today and have access to the Internet have such a huge advantage; they’re growing up in such a wealth of knowledge. Sometimes I wonder how much more I could have achieved and how much quicker I could have learned if I had access to the Internet when I was growing up. I’m very sure that I would have achieved a lot more a lot faster.
And it’s a bit surprising and sad at the same time that even today there are still people who like to hoard knowledge. One of the reasons why I know this, is because people approach me all the time with all kinds of questions about things that I am good at (be it photography, programming or design etc.), and quite often are surprised by how quickly and freely I like to share any knowledge and insights that I have with them. They then mention to me that they’re not used to that and that others are not like this. It’s often the case that they want to know how to do something specific, or how I achieved a specific result etc., and I’m always happy to help. If I’m very busy and their request requires a long and complicated answer, at the very least I’ll point out where they can find the exact information they’re looking for. These days detailed information and tutorials are available on the Internet for almost anything, so it’s always more efficient to point people at those sources. It also teaches and shows them where they can find the information themselves so that they don’t have to rely on me anymore. Teaching people how to look for and find the information they need is a lot more useful than simply giving the information to them; it helps to make them independent.
Knowledge should be freely and openly available to everyone. It will only accelerate our development and the improvements we can make to our lives and societies. It’s sad that in certain cases, due to the fact that we live in a monetary based society, people aren’t always able to share knowledge as freely as they would otherwise be willing to do. We see that even when it concerns the availability of knowledge, a monetary based society is one of the limiting factors for achieving abundance. In such societies people are often hesitant to share knowledge because they might be afraid of losing income due to losing the competitive advantage their knowledge gives them. At other times it can be for copyright reasons, patents, etc.
In any case, be assured that you can always feel absolutely free to approach me with any questions that you may have, and that I will be happy to share any information with you that might help you.
Ten years ago on April 10th, 2005 I launched this blog and posted for the very first time. It began more as a personal homepage instead of a blog, because back then I didn’t yet have a separate website for my services, but in the last 7 years or so it served more as a blog.
Ten years is a long time, even though I haven’t always been very active. Looking at the archives it looks like I’ve had at least one post every month. Right now I have 351 published posts.
I had hoped to have launched a completely new design for my blog and website by now but haven’t really been able to do a lot of work on that. Among other things, the work I do for my clients comes first. I started working on a new design in early 2014, but had to spend most of my time on other projects not long after that. I’ve since picked up working on the new design again, but in the mean time I decided to make some minor changes to the current design so I can keep using it a little longer. By doing this I can also start preparing the existing content for the changes in the new design.
One of the things that had high priority for me was automating the footnotes in my posts. I used to create and add links to footnotes manually and that took a lot of time. Now I can use custom tags that get processed when a post is loaded and the footnotes are numbered, formatted and arranged automatically. Yes, I know that there are some WordPress plugins that can be used for this, but none of them worked the way I wanted. So I wrote my own functionality as part of my custom theme for this blog (see it in action here).
I’ve also added the ability to add additional notes to my published posts, mostly for reference/background/supporting information related to my personal research. An example can be seen at the end of this post.
Also new on my blog are special kinds of posts called research notes. I’m slowly going to be bringing all my research notes online on various subjects (I used to keep much of this info in draft posts). Not only is it easier for me to manage them in this way (keeping it all in one place), but I can also start sharing this information with everyone while I’m still working on gathering information, instead of waiting until I have a complete article (which can often take a lot of time). I think this may also be very useful to other people on the Internet who are doing their own research or might be searching for the same information.
And for those who like saving and printing webpages, I’ve (finally) added a print style sheet. Just do a print preview in your browser and you’ll notice that it looks a lot better than it used to.
There’s still a lot of room for improvement (like making the blog mobile friendly), but most of that will have to wait for the new design.
In the mean time, I think I should probably take some time off today to reflect upon, and celebrate, the last ten years of blogging.
Much of what you’ve learned about Adolf Hitler isn’t true. For many years we’ve been deceived into believing a distorted — and often completely fabricated — version of reality. This is true for much of human history and also appears to be the case when it comes to information regarding Adolf Hitler.
In the last few days I’ve watched a 6.5 hour long documentary (consisting of 27 parts) on the life of Adolf Hitler and what really went on in Germany and the rest of the world during World War I and especially World War II. The documentary is titled “Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story NEVER Told” (IMDB) and is written and directed by Dennis Wise. It’s the 5th most popular German language documentary on IMDB at the time of this writing. It’s also already blocked on YouTube in a number of countries, among which Germany, Israel, France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland. When you watch the documentary, you’ll understand why it’s blocked in those countries. The full documentary is on YouTube (embedded below, alternative YouTube link); if you can’t watch it there, try watching for free on the official website (where you can also order DVDs), or use a proxy or a YouTube unblocker (such as this one).
This documentary is an amazing piece of work and is a must-see for anyone who wants to live a life based on truth. Dennis Wise reportedly spent 3 years researching and working on this documentary, and it shows (there’s a long list of references at the end in the credits). If history lessons were presented as well as this documentary, I would have loved learning about history in school.
Visual communication is many times more powerful than verbal and written communication. People remember 10% of what they hear, 30% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do. No footnote data (ID: 1) According to the book Brain Rules, “hear a piece of information, and three days later you’ll remember 10% of it; add a picture and you’ll remember 65%.”
It’s much easier to remember information that is visually presented because visuals have a direct route to long-term memory. This is evidenced by the fact that memory recall can be considerably improved by using visualization, for example by using the method of loci:
In basic terms, it is a method of memory enhancement which uses visualization to organize and recall information. A lot of memory contest champions claim to use this technique to recall faces, digits, and lists of words. […] In a simple method of doing this, contestants, using various strategies well before competing, commit to long-term memory a unique vivid image associated with each item.
There are good reasons for why this is possible. The visual cortex of the brain in primates is heavily developed. Vision is our dominant sense; up to 30% of the brain’s cortex is dedicated to processing visual input either directly or indirectly, as compared with just 8% for hearing. No footnote data (ID: 2) In fact, research estimates that up to 85% of our perception, learning, cognition and activities are mediated through vision. No footnote data (ID: 3)
This means that the more the visuals used in communications are able to speak to someone, the better the message is communicated to them, and the more likely they are to remember it. This is why “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and why powerful visuals are very important in communications — especially advertising and marketing.
One often used reason that people bring up to justify their decision to vote during elections is that if they don’t vote, they give the worst candidates a better chance of winning. By voting for the candidate that’s less evil, they lessen the damage that will be done in the future — or so they think.
This reason to justify voting was even mentioned in the past by libertarian Murray Rothbard. What he describes below (source) is in essence what you’ll often hear from other people to justify their decision to vote.
Let’s put it this way: Suppose we were slaves in the Old South, and that for some reason, each plantation had a system where the slaves were allowed to choose every four years between two alternative masters. Would it be evil, and sanctioning slavery, to participate in such a choice? Suppose one master was a monster who systematically tortured all the slaves, while the other one was kindly, enforced almost no work rules, freed one slave a year, or whatever. It would seem to me not only not aggression to vote for the kinder master but idiotic if we failed to do so. Of course, there might well be circumstances—say when both masters are similar—where the slaves would be better off not voting in order to make a visible protest—but this is a tactical not a moral consideration. Voting would not be evil but, in such a case, less effective than the protest. But if it is morally licit and nonaggressive for slaves to vote for a choice of masters, in the same way it is licit for us to vote for what we believe the lesser of two or more evils, and still more beneficial to vote for an avowedly libertarian candidates.
To that, Samuel Edward Konkin III responded as follows:
Can you imagine slaves on a plantation sitting around voting for masters and spending their energy on campaigning and candidates when they could be heading for the “underground railway?” Surely they would choose the counter-economic alternative; surely Dr. Rothbard would urge them to do so and not be seduced into remaining on the plantation until the Abolitionist Slavemasters’ Party is elected.
Like Konkin argues, instead of voting at all, it would be better to focus our time and energy on looking for, and supporting, better alternatives! Participating in this system of enslavement benefits the system and only helps it to stay alive that much longer! While it may be difficult to completely stop participating in this anti-social system, especially these days, not voting requires no effort at all.
Looking at it another way, voting for the lesser of the evils, as Rothbard would like you to do, still means that you are voting for evil! It’s aggression and idiotic to do so. The better and more logical option is not to vote for evil at all! Rothbard was simply very wrong.
This is similar to how people often mention that “government is a necessary evil.” The belief that government is a necessary evil, is a belief that evil is necessary. And I don’t think I have to explain to you why that belief is a very dangerous and destructive belief to have. It really doesn’t make sense to think that way.
Consider this analogy: If a group of your friends would decide to team up and go rob a bank, and you were opposed to that idea, would you go along with them just to lessen the damage they could do? Would you think to yourself, “well gee, I don’t like this at all, but I better go with them and try to discourage them and try to lessen the damage they are going to do?” The answer is no, you wouldn’t, because you understand that you would be complicit in the crime they were about to perpetrate. You would choose not to participate at all. At least, assuming you wanted to do what’s morally right.
The same goes for voting during elections; by voting you give your consent to all the crimes that will be committed by those who are voted into power — crimes that will be perpetrated not only against you, but even against others who don’t want to take part in this anti-social system. You become part of a criminal enterprise, whether you realize it or not. The same goes for all those politicians running for office, all the representatives of parliament and indeed everyone working for government — no matter if they have positive intentions. You cannot take part in, and support, a system that is fundamentally evil, and expect to bring about a lasting positive outcome. Like Spock would say, “that’s highly illogical, captain.”
Like I mentioned in a previous post where I described in details exactly how this anti-social system enslaves us all:
If you realize what the purpose is of the anti-social system that we live in, you’ll do everything you can to stop participating in it. At the very least you’ll stop voting, because voting means giving your consent to this anti-social system being imposed on you and everyone else. It means giving your consent to injustice being committed on a grand scale, for example by legalized theft and extortion (known as “taxation”), legalized murder through warfare, and destructive interference in people’s lives. It means giving your consent to your own enslavement and that of everyone else. Even if you do agree with the system, voting means forcing this anti-social system on others who don’t want to take part in it. And that makes you part of a criminal enterprise whether you realize it or not.
So before you decide to vote for a new slavemaster, make sure you fully understand what this anti-social system that we now live in is all about. Read my post “Statism: A System for your Enslavement”, or head on over to my “Do Not Vote” website and check out the information provided there.
Is Earth the insane asylum of the universe? The answer to that question is explored in the first two parts of a new documentary by The Venus Project that’s been released two days ago, and can now be watched online for free. The documentary is titled “The Choice is Ours” and discusses the many problems with the social system that we currently live in (generally known as Statism). The first two parts can be watched on YouTube (and embedded below).
While the focus is more on the problems in the first two parts, the third part of this documentary — due to be released later this year — will focus on possible solutions.
I think the team at the Venus Project did a very nice job of cramming all the important issues into just one hour of viewing time. It’s very nicely and efficiently done. This won’t waste any of your precious time and quickly highlights the very roots of the problems we’re currently dealing with in society. This documentary is another very valuable tool that can be used to wake people up around the world. It’s already been translated into over 28 languages (just use the closed captioning feature on YouTube).
If you make a movie of the present day culture, in the future it’ll be a horror film.
What I also find very interesting is that the issues that are being discussed in the documentary are the very same issues I mention on my own “Do Not Vote” website that I launched about a month ago. I don’t think this is a coincidence; I’ve noticed that there’s a global coördinated (mostly behind the scenes) effort going on right now with the goal of pushing humankind into a new, much more positive direction. I’ve discussed this in the past, but it still amazes me every time when I see it happening in real-time. There are many people working independently around the world, often not knowing about each other, and yet still pushing things into the same direction with their efforts. If you’d suspect “divine” intervention, you wouldn’t be far from the truth.
So check out the documentary as soon as you possibly can, and please share it as much as possible with friends and family.
I’ve been following the latest camera gear releases by Canon and love where they are heading. Long time readers of my blog will know that there was a time when I had only criticism when it came to Canon, but things changed starting with the release of the 1DX and later the 5D Mark III.
I love how Canon have split the 5D line into the 5Ds for the high megapixel version and the existing 5D for the lower megapixel version. This is something many people had requested, including me in my 5D Mark III review:
Please keep the sensor resolution on the 35mm sensor in the 21-24MP range. We don’t need more resolution!! It’s great where it’s at now. For people who want more resolution, consider introducing a medium format system. Or alternatively, introduce a new camera line, say a 4D, with more megapixels and more noise and slower framerate for the amateurs (as Ken Rockwell calls them) who go crazy about megapixels. But for us professionals, keep the 5D at 22MP.
Personally I don’t think I’ll be getting a 5Ds anytime soon, because low light performance and speed are a lot more important to me than resolution. I’ll wait for the 5D Mark IV which will probably be announced later this year.
In addition I’m also curious about the performance of the sensor in the 5Ds with regard to the noise and banding issues, especially in the shadows and skies. This has been a consistent problem for Canon sensors for many years now. The problem was reduced in the 5D Mark III but it is still far from what the latest Sony sensors are capable of.
I’ve just launched another one of my personal Internet projects. This time it’s a small website dedicated to explaining to people how the current social system that we live in (Statism) is enslaving us all, and why they should seriously think about not voting anymore. There are better ways of living together, and it’s high time that we start to seriously look into this.
The previous post I published here on my blog titled “Statism: A System for your Enslavement” contained the content I used for this new website.
I invite you to check out the website and if you agree with the content, share it as much as possible. The more people know about what’s really going on, the faster we can move towards creating a better world to live in.
You were born into a system that enslaved you from the moment you entered this world. No footnote data (ID: 1) All your life you’ve known subconsciously, if not consciously, that there was something seriously wrong with the world you live in. Even though you were brainwashed from very early childhood to ignore it, you’ve felt deep inside you that your right to life was constantly being attacked by the very system that was supposedly put in place to serve your best interests.
You’ve been trained from very early childhood — while your mind was still innocent and defenseless — to remain ignorant and docile by the “education” system. You’ve been trained not to independently think for yourself, not to question what you’re taught, to be subservient and to blindly be obedient to authority and follow the commands that you’re given. Like the famous comedian George Carlin said, those who are responsible for this “don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. That’s against their interests.” What they want are “obedient workers — people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork but just dumb enough to passively accept” their enslavement.